NJPW: G1 Climax Update 4/8/17

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By Austin Grinnell @WolfmanAustin13

-Well, guys… I was trying my damndest to keep up with the grueling G1 Climax and reviews for the shows, but real life has a way of rearing its ugly head, and in our case, my reviews are going to be late if I keep doing them. It’s just a fact of having to work a full-time job and balance writing with my home life. That being said, my wife is fantastic and I will continue to watch all of the shows. Instead of doing single show reviews, I’m just going to keep you all updated on the tournament standings and the math of it all, now that we are into territory where wrestlers are starting to become mathematically ineligible to qualify for the finals.

Here are the current standings, out of a possible 12 points. Each athlete will have three matches remaining in the preliminary stage of the tournament, meaning that there are still a possible 6 points on the table for everyone.

Block A Standings:

01. Tetsuya Naito [8]
01. Zack Sabre Jr. [8]
01. Hiroshi Tanahashi [8]
04. Kota Ibushi [6]
04. Tomohiro Ishii [6]
04. Hirooki Goto [6]
04. Togi Makabe [6]
04. Bad Luck Fale [6]
09. YOSHI-HASHI [4] Eliminated
10. Yuji Nagata [0] Eliminated

Block B Standings:

01. Kazuchika Okada [12]
02. Kenny Omega [10]
03. Minoru Suzuki [8]
03. SANADA [8]
03. EVIL [8]
06. Toru Yano [4] Eliminated
06. Tama Tonga [4] Eliminated
06. Michael Elgin [4] Eliminated
09. Juice Robinson [2] Eliminated
10. Satoshi Kojima [0] Eliminated

-As you can see, Block A is way more open than Block B with just three events left per block. On the A-Side, only “Blue Justice” Yuji Nagata has been eliminated from contention at this point. For YOSHI-HASHI to advance, he would need to run the table on his final three opponents (Goto, Ibushi and Makabe) AND he would need for Naito, Sabre and Tanahashi, who are sitting on top of A Block currently, to go winless over their next three matches. We can probably eliminate YOSHI from the running though, as Naito will face both Sabre and Tanahashi over his final three bouts.

-Naito and Sabre will meet tomorrow, while Tanahashi faces off in the main event against Togi Makabe. Unless the Naito Vs Sabre match goes the full thirty minutes, at least one of the current leaders will score their 10th point tomorrow in Ehime.

-At this point, I still expect my A Block pick Naito to emerge from the field and find himself in the finals on August 13th.

-Over in B Block, it’s been the Okada Show, which isn’t massively surprising. There have been a few times that I’ve thought that he might fall to someone (Juice Robinson, Tama Tonga and SANADA), but the Rainmaker is in top form during this 27th G1 Climax tournament. His final three opponents are EVIL, Minoru Suzuki and Kenny Omega. All three men are capable of putting a loss in that column for Okada, but EVIL and Omega just about killed each other during their match yesterday. Suzuki may wind up being the only hope to stop Okada from running the field here, but he’s been tested heavily by the new talents as well.

-In order for Suzuki, SANADA or EVIL to qualify for the finals, they would have to win their final three bouts. Minoru Suzuki  and EVIL would need to defeat Okada to win the tie-breaker and move on to the final, while the other member of Los Ingobernables de Japon, SANADA, can only sit back and hope that the reigning IWGP Heavyweight Champion slips up here and scores a maximum of one point over his next three matches.

-Kenny Omega is in much better shape as a challenger to Okada, sitting only two points behind the Rainmaker. Kenny has had a very rough tournament thus far, and two of his final matches are against guys that are hungry to prove they belong. Juice Robinson is up first, and despite being eliminated from the tournament, provides a big challenge to Omega. Robinson has established himself as a credible threat to everyone he’s faced so far, and he won’t just roll over and give this one to Kenny. After that, Omega faces SANADA, who is still very much alive in this tournament. Cold Skull has had a fantastic showing in the G1 Climax and I still believe that he could surprise and face Naito in an all LIJ G1 Climax final. The big match for Omega though, especially if he and Okada go into the final night with two more wins in the next two matches, is against his rival Kazuchika Okada. The story could very well be building to a match where Okada is undefeated, and the only way he doesn’t advance to the finals is if he loses to Omega, who would then claim the tie-breaker.

-Me? I’m still hoping that SANADA wins his next three matches, Okada loses to EVIL and then Omega on the final day of preliminaries, opening the door for SANADA to score the B Block win and establish himself as a main event level talent in New Japan.

-How do you guys see the rest of the G1 going here, or what do you want to see happen? Hit me up on Twitter @WolfmanAustin13 or via email at threevalleywrestling@gmail.com to throw in your two cents or ask any questions you’d like for me to answer in future columns!

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